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Chemistry and Biochemistry


Chemistry and Biochemistry


Speciation of copper in marine systems strongly influences the ability of copper to cause toxicity. Natural organic matter (NOM) contains many binding sites which provides a protective effect on copper toxicity. The purpose of this study was to characterize copper binding with NOM using fluorescence quenching techniques. Fluorescence quenching of NOM with copper was performed on nine sea water samples. The resulting stability con- stants and binding capacities were consistent with literature values of marine NOM, show- ing strong binding with log K values from 7.64 to 10.2 and binding capacities ranging from 15 to 3110 nmole mg C −1 . Free copper concentrations estimated at total dissolved copper concentrations corresponding to previously published rotifer effect concentrations, in the same nine samples, were statistically the same as the range of free copper calculated for the effect concentration in NOM-free artificial seawater. These data confirms the applicability of fluorescence spectroscopy techniques for NOM and copper speciation characterization in sea water and demonstrates that such measured speciation is consistent with the chemical principles underlying the Biotic Ligand Model (BLM) approach for bioavailability-based metals risk assessment.


This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology (BECT). The final authenticated version is available online at:

Available for download on Tuesday, December 18, 2018